Traveling Fosters Gratitude

It's 6:45 on Saturday night.  We pull up our driveway, all of us weary and dirty and famished.  We topple out of the car, lugging bags and toys and books over our shoulders and heading straight upstairs to open our styrofoam containers holding the contents of our take-out dinner.  Luke and Lily scurry outside to have a picnic of chicken nuggets and ranch dressing on the swing set.  Kevin eats his dinner as if it's the first food he has eaten in days as I feed Jude with my feet slung over the side of the chair.

We are home.  After eight hours in the car, ten hours of travel, we are home.  

Last week we headed to the Windy City to hang out with city people and do city things while Kevin went to a conference.  I know an eight hour road trip is not a big trip, but it is our first trip with three babes.  So, it was most definitely a BIG trip for us.

While in Chicago, we went to a museum, played at a dreamy park, ate deep dish pizza, 'watched' a Cubs game, walked what seemed like one thousand miles, and spent some fun time with friends.  It was not epic, but it was just the change of pace we needed in this season.  While not able to go on a long, beach-y vacation at the moment, a road trip to Chicago was perfect.

We stayed in a VRBO (which I highly recommend for family travels) and it was just the right size and had all the amenities we needed for our family of five plus one grandma.  #whatwouldwedowithoutgrandmas  My mom was completely necessary on this trip and I am so so glad she decided to come with us.  We did some new things together and ate some yummy food and just did life the Chicago way for a few days.  I love a good getaway and the four days we spent together in a 14th floor condo were ordinary and exciting and out of our comfort zone in a good way.

Kevin and I snuck away the night before we left for a date night at the cutest spot my friend, Anne, recommended.  RM Champagne is a sweet patio-forward restaurant tucked away in an alley in Chicago.  As I sipped on my glass of white wine and nibbled on the shrimp cocktail, Kevin and I discussed our favorite parts of the trip.  Although he was gone during the days, we were able to spend quality time with him at night.  I mentioned the Cubs game and watching the kids play at the fountains after epic meltdowns.  He talked about riding the city train (aka the 'L') with Luke and going on the boat tour of Chicago.  After chuckling at the way Lily waved to all the passengers on the 'L' and coming to the conclusion that I probably have a fear of heights, I told Kevin I am so thankful for our home, back in wee little Macedonia, Iowa.

In the middle of a crowded restaurant with glasses clinking and servers scurrying around to bring plates to and from tables, I re-discovered that I love our home.  On the trail.  In the middle of nowhere Iowa.  I love the quiet and the green space and the slow pace.  I love cozying up under a blanket, even in the summertime, after the kids go to bed with a good book.  I love the ordinary hum-drum of Luke and Lily playing in their rooms or reading books on our worn couch.  I love the home we have made and am incredibly grateful we get to live where we live.

Yes, I love a good getaway.  I love experiencing new places and tastes with my people.  I love discovering my new-favorite cherry donut at the local donut shop down the street in a new city.  But, I love coming back home to my bed, my cozy spot on the couch, my dishes to do and laundry to wash and weeds to pull in my overgrown garden beds.  I love home.  My life on the trail is exactly where I want to spend (almost) all of my days.


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